I've been thinking about writing this post for sometime. No one in my immediate family breastfed (BF) their children so I had no idea what to expect. Friends had either forgotten details or feigned memory loss in order to spare how hard BF'ing can sometimes be. All and all, I knew it was the choice for me since breast is best. I read all of the BF info in What to Expect the First Year and even went to a BF'ing class. The main thing I took from the class was an image of a baby attached to what looked like a flesh colored bean bag chair. That thing was huge compared to that baby's tiny head!
When Alex was born he swallowed a lot of fluid. I didn't get to nurse him immediately. I thought "Great! How would we ever bond like all the books said!?". I feared he was going to grow up hating me! I finally got to attempt to nurse him 3 hours later and I began crying immediately when he wouldn't latch. thaKing was there to comfort me (this will be featured in the montage for his husband/father of the year award!) and explain, just like we learned in class, this is new to me and the baby, and we both have to learn how this all works. A nurse came in and helped me with positioning. You can look at pictures of holds all you want, but until you get that real live, moving baby, the pictures may as well be maps of the former Soviet Union. It worked! Alex latched and there was a little 'aw' sound that let me know he was swallowing that priceless colostrum. That was one of the best moments ever. Here was this tiny person that we made, I gave birth to, and was getting his only means of nourishment from me. We had trouble with latching/positioning again and a nurse helped me and got us back on track, again. Just like golf lessons, as long as I have the pro to line me up perfectly, I can be the next Annika Sorenstam. How would I nurse him when I got home?
Our last day in the hospital, my milk came in. I woke up to two huge cantaloupes on my chest. Alex had his very own bean bag chairs--yet they were not as soft as bean bag chairs, more like coconuts. In the class I learned you can become very emotional when the milk arrives. I remember thinking "whatever, that won't happen to me." I was a freaking basket case! I could barely compose myself to talk to the midwife that came into discharge me. I almost lost it when the photo person showed us the slide show of Alex's 'hospital' photos. So yes, apparently I too became a stereotypical, hormonal, emotional wreck!
We did great when we got home. However with the constant feedings, I felt like a Holstein cow. I skipped applications of udder cream in the middle of the night occasionally. This resulted in baby vampire mouth! My nips became sore and cracked and eventually started bleeding. It was such a sad sight to see Alex delatch and have blood on the outside corners of his lips. Of course he notice no difference. The internet can be your enemy. I read let the nips air dry, put wet tea bags on them...yep, all that made it worse. Use the udder cream religiously at first! Eventually when your nips turn into leather like an old nude Euro sunbather, you won't need it anymore.(Please disregard the forthcoming lack of transition--however I did mention there would be ramblings).
No one mentioned the pin-like stabbing sensation in the nips for about the first 12 seconds of nursing. While cringing, I remember doing the countdown so I would know the pain was almost over. One day that pain just vanished without much notice, other than the realization that there is no longer a porcupine rolling around on my headlights. Apparently I developed nips of steel, or at least so I thought.
On my first day back to work, I was stuck in dependency neglect and abuse court for 3 hours. This was the first day away from my boy, and did I need my pump! I felt as if I was about to spray the whole courtroom with breast milk! There I was representing deadbeats that can't give up drugs to take care of their kids (much less caffeine and sushi like I had) and I desperately needed to get on with the process of delivering up a bag of nourishment for my son. One attorney suggested getting a manual pump and going to the restroom to pump. That was an idea, yet disgusting. Have you seen the people that go to courthouses?! I'm not talking about just the lawyers either.
Speaking of, I'm getting so tired of pumping. I am quickly approaching the 4 month mark of being a mother pumper. I really want to resist giving Alex formula. My milk is better for him, and plus, it's free! Another reason to justify spending money on my Starbucks (be it decaf) addiction!
A few weeks ago while nursing Alex, I felt this sharp pain in the headlight. Was the porcupine back? Doubtful. Alex has been gnawing away on his thumb so we knew teeth were on their way. thaKing dared to stick his finger in there, and sure enough, Alex has 2 teeth about to debut on the bottom. I now see why a lot of moms stop BF'ing at around 6 months! TEETH! I admire those that make it 1 year and those superheroes (usually SAHMs) that make it 18 months or so. How can this be done? I want to throw my pump out the window and not risk having my boobs bitten off by my infant!